Making crafting visible while rendering labor invisible on the Etsy platform
DIS’22: ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS)
Session: Crafting & Materials
Historically, crafts have been associated with women’s small-scale creative production in the home, equated with hobbies or amateur production, and devalued in comparison to both art and industrial production. During its early years, Etsy was seen as a champion of ‘handmade’, bringing visibility to crafts and providing economic value. This paper presents results of a qualitative study with 18 small online sellers of Etsy platform. Our study shows that Etsy’s sociotechnical design results in a high burden of invisible labor for sellers, including categories of labor not replicated by other online platforms. These new categories include negotiation and articulation work around defining and defending ‘handmade’ products, understanding one’s intellectual property and how (and whether) to defend that IP elsewhere on the platform, understanding working of platform algorithms and adapting to changing platform regulations. Our findings provide new ways to frame the challenges faced by producers/sellers on emerging marketplace platforms.
Video Presentations of DIS 2022